90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Flu Cases Surge Nationwide

Jesus Ortiz, right, gets his flu shot from Joe Leyba, left, during a flu shot clinic at the Armory Park Senior Center in Tucson, Ariz., in October 2012. (John Miller/AP/NCOA)

Jesus Ortiz, right, gets his flu shot from Joe Leyba, left, during a flu shot clinic at the Armory Park Senior Center in Tucson, Ariz., in October 2012. (John Miller/AP/NCOA)

The flu season is upon us.

Rates of infection are unusually high for this time of year compared to past years. An early peak in infection rates may be one explanation – the flu season started early in November of 2012.

But it’s not as bad as it may seem, according to Dr. William Schaffner, professor and chairman of the department of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University.

“We had the H1N1 pandemic in 2009 and then mild years after,” Dr. Schaffner told Here & Now’s Robin Young. “This is the first year with what we might call normal levels of flu. So while it’s more than last year, it’s not that unusual.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has said this year’s flu vaccine is about 60 percent effective – which is not unusual – and is fairly well-matched to the prevalent flu strains this season.

CDC officials are urging anyone who has not already received a flu shot to get one.

There are two ways the vaccine can be administered, through a nasal spray or through a shot. Studies show that the nasal spray is marginally more effective for children, while shots are better for adults.

Vaccines usually protect against three strains of flu, according to Dr. Schaffner, but next year we may see vaccines that protect against four strains.

Guest:


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Matthew Fisken

    As we expose our bodies to increasingly-high levels of electromagnetic radiation, especially digital radio frequencies from cell phones, wifi, cordless phones, smart meters, etc our immune systems have become compromised and less able to fight viruses and bacteria, not to mention a host of other chronic “modern” illnesses. The first step anyone who wants to avoid or defeat the flu should take is to unplug or disable wireless transmitters in their home, especially in the bedroom. The FCC thermal-based safety “guidelines” are not protective of our delicate bio-electrical systems.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

August 20 Comment

James Foley Remembered For His ‘Extraordinary Courage’

U.S. officials have confirmed the authenticity of a video showing the beheading of the American journalist.

August 20 5 Comments

L.A. Moves To Arrest Fewer Misbehaving Students

The change in the school district's policy is the culmination of a long fight by judges, government officials, advocates and attorneys.

August 19 5 Comments

Abandoned Homes In Buffalo, N.Y. Selling For $1

Instead of tearing the homes down, city officials are selling them for $1, as part of the "Urban Homestead Program."

August 19 Comment

A Look At U.S. Military Options In Iraq

Retired Admiral William Fallon, who was head of United States Central Command during the Iraq War, discusses the current conflict.